1994 is considered one of the most fruitful and enriching years in the history of Hip-Hop. The Wu-Tang Clan had officially redefined the industry’s standards and Nas delivered a milestone drawing comparisons to icons of the late ’80s, along with Snoop and Dre raising hell on the left coast. You could literally smell the transformation Hip Hop was going through, and the valuable quantity of good albums being released was increasing. At these days and times, the words “slept-on” or ” underrated” would not distinguish the way Boogiemonsters’ “Riders Of The Storm” was decisively overlooked. These were some “college-dudes” who had met at the Virginia State University and had decided the world definitely needs another AvantGarde musical journey, sounding somewhere between “The Pharcyde” on crystal meth (well, at times Pharcyde did sound like they were on crystal meth!?) and Sydney Poitier on “Guess Who’s Coming For Dinner”. You heard some dazed suburban kids voicing inscrutable anger and depression about a cruel world they hadn’t figured out yet, reflecting nuances of being lost and forgotten and on a hunt for fallen spirituality.
The “New World Order” was a term I was familiar with, but the Boogiemonsters were the first collective to dedicate four-minute-songs to its concept. They offered alternatives with their nerdy prophecies, questioning the fundamentals of our society (“The devil sees the world as a girl from the back / Eyeing, sighing, dying to get a crack at the middle”). This is the reason nobody would check for them back then! I knew this girl back in my old days who would always hit me with the most obscure suggestions what songs and albums I should get and the “Riders Of The Storm” was one of them. I would listen to a couple of tracks (”Recognized Thresholds of Negative Stress”, “Mark of the Beast” and “Riders of the Storm”) only to grow tired of the whole vibe and trash the tape. But this particular album had a life of its own and every time I would look for such and such, I ended up putting this album back on in my stereo and I started to develop a certain appreciation for it. That’s when I fell in love with tracks like “Strange” and “Muzik” where they portrayed music as a woman before Common dropped “I Used To Love Her” a couple of months later that year.
Like I said, the subject matter could feel annoying at times and although the music turned out to be more than flawless, the overall feeling of this album stays refreshing. Now that I think about it, this must be the crown-jewel for backpack extravaganzas with its spaced-out format! When the Boogiemonsters released their sophomore “God Sound” in 1997 (by then, the four-man crew had turned to only two MCs: Apparently, the other two guys couldn’t continue to live the high-life of a boogie monster because of their personal convictions and religious beliefs!?), the freshness was long lost and had drifted away and after re-listening to their first album, I understood the generic quality of it. More than anything, this album is timeless! A perfect start to your weekend!